Well I was originally going to try and record some swimming and squash sounds at the Melbourne Baths tonight, however when I went there they wanted me to officially request permission to stand in the public viewing area and point a mic at people hitting a squash ball. I do understand that what I am doing is slightly unusual, but it never ceases to amaze me how much ridiculous bureaucracy people want to go through. I always try to do the right thing by asking before I go and record stuff, but some people just seem so tied up in time wasting paperwork it makes it not worth the effort. I think I’ll go and find some small local squash centre, generally the smaller the business, the less time wasting occurs.
I decided on the way home to detour via the Ice Skating rink that is near our apartment at the Docklands. There is a brand new Olympic Ice arena being constructed, but in the mean time they have set-up a tent with a temporary ice rink to get people interested. Again I approached the person at the front desk to ask who I needed to get permission from, thinking I would need to organise an email asking permission etc.. Within less than 5 minutes I was talking to the duty manager, who basically said “ Sure, no prob, there is no one here tonight, lets do it now” Like I said, small business, real people, much less pain.
There were two people practising skating, so after the manger switched off the music for a few minutes I got to record some of their movement. I didn’t have my boom pole with me, so I needed to use the MKH60 in the blimp cover and hold the pistol grip, as well as holding the H4N. This in itself is not a big deal, but it became evident very quickly how much more convenient the boom pole set-up is when I decided it would be better to give my gear to one of the skaters. The different between one single pole that can be carried in either one or two hands compared with a mic and a lead attached to the recording unit is quite substantial when you need to be active.
Belle did a bunch of skating moves for me including spins, slides and runs and it was so much better than if I had tried to do the skating myself. She was much more confident on the skates and could perform moves I could never have done. This meant I got a good range of material. The MKH worked very well and the resultant recordings have a beautiful cleanness to them that captured the nice high frequencies of the ice. I was very happy with the results and it made up for the frustration at the Melbourne Baths.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences